Williams chief Paddy Lowe takes 'leave' from Formula 1 team

Williams chief Paddy Lowe takes 'leave' from Formula 1 team

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe is taking "a leave of absence" from the Formula 1 team, Autosport has learned.

Lowe, who joined Williams for a second spell in 2017 after overseeing three consecutive constructors' championship wins with Mercedes, was already under pressure heading into this season after the team finished bottom of last year's championship for the first time in their history.

The news comes a fortnight after Williams missed the first two days of winter testing amid delays in the build of their new FW42 auto.

Pre-season testing for the Grove based team has been tough the late debut of the FW42.

Lowe joined Williams in 2017 from champions Mercedes but last year's auto, the first under his supervision, proved ill-handling and uncompetitive.

Williams technical chief Lowe takes

After Williams missed the first two days of testing due to delays in getting the auto ready, Paddy Lowe has taken leave for personal reasons.

But now, following Williams' statement, it is expected that Lowe will not return to the team and confirmation of his departure will follow.

That increased expectations for the FW42 but also raised the significance of the vehicle in terms of the competence of Williams's new senior structure.

Williams has tweaked the front-suspension and mirror design of its new-spec FW42 ahead of next week's Australian Grand Prix after receiving a briefing from the FIA on the car's legality.

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